nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

(Greed is the second in my Deadly Sin series. The first, on Wrath, can be found here, where it unfortunately got enmeshed with the Sandy Hook Massacre).

The Dragon's Hoard

The Dragon’s Hoard (Photo credit: sbisson)

Of all the political oddities over the last several years, none has astonished me more than the Ayn Rand fan boys and the Religious Right jumping into bed together in common cause against the poor. Ew. (And sorry for the visual) I may be missing something.

After all, I’m a Unitarian Pagan who has only read every religious text I have ever been able to get my hands on.


I guess those guys worship the other Jesus. You know, the one that hung around with Roman Centurions and bought and sold businesses while complaining about those lazy Nazarenes who would do so much better if they would just try harder.

The Christian objection to greed is based on Jesus’ teachings — The real Jesus, the one who preached about helping the poor, caring for the sick, and having humility.

He had a pretty good idea there, no matter your religious persuasion.

Like most of these deadly sins, greed is an exaggeration of a state of mind that is positive and useful. Also like the others, it substitutes a positive focus with the ‘worship’ of or obsession with a particular ideal or emotion.

There is nothing wrong with saving for the future and investing and building a safety net for yourself and your family. The problem arises when your family safety net begins to resemble a dragon’s hoard.

Have you ever wondered how the heck dragons sleep on all that gold? It’s got to be incredibly uncomfortable. The same is true for those ruled by greed. This is the curse of the dragon’s gold:

If you allow yourself to be ruled by greed, you become the servant to the dragon’s gold, and it no longer serves you or anyone else.

Mitt Romney personified the end result of the deadly sin of greed when he stated without shame, and without irony, that 47% of the people of the country he was at the time seeking to lead are plotting to ‘steal his gold’. That was a paraphrase, not a quote. Deal. Greed corrupts individuals, communities, and even the entire world. Currently, roughly 40% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of billionaires, while billions of people starve. The root of this greed comes from the idea that no matter how wealthy you are, you ‘can’t afford‘ to let go of even one doubloon, one finely wrought goblet, one half melted (oops) bar of gold, lest disaster fall. Fear. The root of greed is fear.

Pay It ForwardAnd the worst of it is – greed does not contribute to happiness.

In fact, numerous studies have found that after a certain set point (which last I checked was around $70,000 per year in current dollars or roughly comfortably middle class) money does not change overall happiness.

That’s right, Joe and Jane Average.  Mr. Millionaire is not happier than you, he just has a different set of problems.

The opposite of greed is the Golden Rule, nearly universal in spiritual belief systems and belief systems based on secular humanism. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Cast your seeds upon fertile ground, and work to make infertile ground richer and more fertile. “Pay it Forward” or “The Magnificent Obsession”. Give to others. Invest in them individually, and in communities.

There are thousands of ways to express it, but the concept is simple: Be generous with others. Give more than you ‘need’ to, and allow the giving to be its own reward… You see, a portion of greed is greed for the reward that comes from giving, the pats on the back, the recognition, the gratitude of the recipient, for power over the recipient or those who depend on your gifts.

To build happiness in your life, in your family, give of your time, your energy, your money, and your compassion, without expectations. That whole without expectations part? I can’t emphasize it enough. Without expectations. You are going to be disappointed when you give.

  • Some people will misuse the resource you provide (I don’t want to count the number of times I’ve given bus passes to people only to have them trade them for cigarettes).
  • Some people will show no outward gratitude.
  • Sometimes you will be unable to see how you’ve helped anyone.
  • Sometimes you will feel like you’ve made things worse.

The time to stop giving is when you are forgetting to give to yourself. Play as hard as you work. Rest often, and renew. Treat and pamper yourself as you do others.

Another time to stop giving (to a particular person) is if you do not have the emotional energy for the relationship challenges it causes, or when the giving, because of the other person’s situation, is doing more harm than good.

And there are no easy answers here. Sometimes, the thing you need to give most to a loved one with an addiction (for example) is help with the rent and a listening ear, and sometimes the best thing you can do is cut off contact.

What is stopping you from being generous with your time, your love, your money, your friendship?

  • Are you afraid? Of what? Rejection? Acceptance? Added obligation?
  • Are you angry at the person or system?
  • Are you resentful that you never got the generosity that is now being asked of you?
  • Are you overextended? (If so, remember to give to YOU)

What are you sleeping on, holding up gathered to you like dragon’s gold, doing neither you nor anyone else any good? Isn’t it time to let it go and sleep on a softer bed?

Enhanced by Zemanta
nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

I was exhausted last night and didn’t get my post ready for today. Here is something interesting and useful about the empathic nature of society to tide you over until I get home from work tonight and finish my post on Wrath, the first of the (Christian) Deadly Sins.

I’m interested in your thoughts on his reasoning (RSA Animate has tons of thoughtful videos out there… I invite you to ‘waste’ a day wandering through them.)

Also, this:

Empathy and Civilization

Cover via Amazon

Enhanced by Zemanta

Share Button

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

 Getting Rid of Welfare

Lots of people talk about how poor people ‘rip off’ the system and how money is ‘wasted’ on programs for the poor. There is a lot of emotional energy invested in these arguments, and people get loud, and start shouting over each other, and friendships end over discussions of why poor people don’t ‘deserve’ help.

So let’s not go that route. I want to ask you a question, instead. How will you benefit from getting rid of welfare? Lets imagine a world in which ‘entitlements’ for the poor in America have been eliminated, and give it about twenty years for the results to show.*

Read the rest of this entry »

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button

living wageWhen you find me struggling with the obvious on wage and labor issues, remember that I spent nearly a decade as a libertarian before I slowly, painfully reasoned my way back to a supporter of a well regulated economy with capitalism as the engine and liberalism as a steering wheel.

A friend who is deeply involved in the Occupy movement posted the picture to the left on Facebook a couple of days ago, and it let loose a cascade of thoughts that drew a little of that old poison from my wounds.

My old reactionary core rose up in protest. Really? You’re going to go there? And then I paused. It’s a really good question. Its opposite is asked many, many times in libertarian and conservative circles. At what point is taxation theft? And if it is always theft, then why is it not also theft to take the benefits of another person’s labor, and profit from it? 

Read the rest of this entry »

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Facebook is awash right now with calls to boycott Walmart, and Papa John’s Pizza, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday in general, in solidarity with underpaid retail personnel, and in general objection to the commercialization of whichever winter holiday(s) you celebrate.

Boycotts are a great tool of the people. Really they are. That’s not sarcasm. Even if there’s no direct financial impact, significant negative publicity can change the positions of people in power who are otherwise nearly untouchable.


Read the rest of this entry »

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button

Rolling Jubilee

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Occupy Wall Street has found a very interesting new cause to pursue, and are rolling it out on November 15th (which happens to be my dad’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday, Daddy!). They are raising money to buy up debt for pennies on the dollar and forgive it. It’s called Rolling Jubilee and there’s a good editorial by Douglas Rushkoff about it on CNN here.

Rushkoff brings up the ‘moral hazard’ issue and deals with it pretty well, simply by equating personal debt forgiveness with the business debt forgiveness that has already been done by government on a massive scale. There’s more to it than that, however.

Read the rest of this entry »

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button


Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...



The bulk of this article first published as Health Care Reform: The Sky is Not Falling on Technorati. New content added to end of article.
A new statistic has hit the media cycle designed to send all of our hind brains into panic and pressure the Democratic party into backing off of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The statistic is this: 30% of employers intend to stop offering employer based health insurance when the ACA comes to pass fully in 2014.

Enough to make you shake in your boots, right? How will all those people get insurance? They’re going to be abandoned! Things are going to be worse than ever!
Really. Just relax. The sky is not falling, Chicken Little.
The reality is – that’s what the ACA was (in part) designed to do. The United States is one of very few countries in the world that tie health care to job status, and there’s a reason for it not being a common model – it’s unattractive for both the employer and employee.
From an employer’s perspective, not having to cover health insurance makes small business startup a lot less expensive and a lot less risky. A small business which suddenly discovers that one of its key employees has an expensive health condition currently often has to make a heartbreaking decision about whether to continue to offer health care, as the small employee group can rapidly price premiums out of the business’s reach. Paying a penalty for not covering health insurance is a very risk-averse way to deal with the issue, but a valid one for many businesses.
The health care pools built into the ACA spread the risk much further, plus add in the young and healthy to the insurance pool (that is the justification for the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans and for the health insurance mandate). This will bring the cost down for individuals significantly – and for low and some middle income families, the subsidy provided by the federal government will replace the current employer subsidy.
As we settle into the new law and unintended consequences become apparent, they will be dealt with as were similar issues with Social Security and Medicare – new amendments to the law will rectify the problem.
The ACA is not a perfect law. It has a lot of flaws and was far more complicated than it needed to be (a single payer ‘Medicare for all‘ would have both eliminated the current two-tiered system and been lower cost all the way around). However, on this issue, the fear is largely unfounded.
The transition is not going to be perfect. Some people are going to struggle with change and figuring out what to do. Gaps in service will exist and will need to be addressed. But the world will settle into a new normal that means that artists and writers and self-employed people and people who are employed by small businesses are just as likely to have affordable health insurance as those employed by large companies.
By the time 2020 rolls around, Americans will have gotten used to the new law, made some changes to improve it here and there, and be unable to imagine life without it. And the fiscal effects on the family and on the economy will begin to show, and the cost of health care for government, individuals, and businesses will begin to stabilize and eventually drop.
And that’s not a bad thing.
Here at my own blog I want to expand a bit on this very important topic to distinguish between what the Affordable Care Act actually does compared to what its demonizers accuse it of doing. I’m going to focus here on the individual mandate, the requirement that everyone buy insurance.
First of all, no one is going to jail for not having insurance. You might pay a fine, but you won’t go to jail. While there has been a lot of focus on the negative aspects of the individual mandate (the requirement that everyone has health insurance), there has been little focus on the positive aspects. Partially because of bias, I’m sure, but also because it’s somewhat harder to explain, so I’m going to try telling you a story.
In Job: A Comedy of Justice (one of my favorite books of all time), Robert Heinlein had his poor persecuted main character jumping from universe to universe, each a recognizable variation of our own, some clearly dystopian, others more utopian. In many of these universes, the character took a job as a dishwasher, a job that is easier for someone without papers or proveable history to obtain, that often pays daily or sometimes weekly, and isn’t a critical function that the next universe hop will disrupt.
On one such jump, the character (and his beloved companion) land in a country that has a social safety net paid for by taxes, much like ours. He is outraged to find that his old age (social security) tax is automatically debited from his check each week whether he wants the service or not, and insists that it’s a really nice service, but he can’t afford it.
Robert Heinlein was missing the point. While we can argue all day about how much poor ‘Job’ should have to pay for his retirement, and whether that cost could be borne better by those making significantly more than the average dishwasher, what isn’t really up for argument is that the consequences to not only the individual, but his family and community and society, for failure to plan for his future are too costly to be ignored.
Moreover, (and this is key), because the cost of the individual’s failure to prepare is borne in part by family, community, and society, society has a stake in ensuring that plans for his retirement are sufficient. That is both the legal and moral basis for taxation for contingencies such as retirement and other safety net issues.
Further, because these are unpredictable costs, but almost never negligible, and because they vary, and because there is a strong chance of discrepancy between an individual’s need for help with retirement funding and his ability to fulfill that, a system such as taxation is both practical and just.
So, even though Heinlein’s fictional hero suffered from the payroll tax taken from his income, the long odds were, had the character stayed in that universe (as most of us do) that not only would he have received the full benefit of that initial sacrifice, but that supplement from more highly compensated workers (rich people) would help ease his old age.
And how does that benefit rich people? In a lot of ways, actually. To start with, people whose basic needs are provided for have more money to spend, so if the rich person is selling a product or service, he now has a consumer instead of someone in crisis who is costing public systems money without contributing. A person who is living contentedly and well on an income that meets his or her needs is also less likely to foment rebellion and demand a greater share of the fruits of productivity.
This translates pretty well to health care insurance. The costs of the uninsured are shifted, and not in efficient or effective ways, to those of us who carry health insurance. When everyone pays for health insurance however, especially if, as in the ACA, there are supplements for those for whom health insurance would otherwise be priced out of practicality, all of us benefit in several ways.
  • The cost per individual for health insurance comes down.
  • The general health of the population, including communicable and chronic diseases that are expensive and/or deadly on a societal level, improves.
  • The effects of the two-tiered (wealthy vs. poor) health care system begin to be equalized (though it is important to note here that wealthy folks can buy better care in any country in the world, the care of the poorest goes up, not down, wherever Universal health care is implemented)
  • Artists and entrepreneurs and others who don’t generally work for a salary have far more access to health insurance, allowing for more innovation at the creative and small business level.
  • By moving health insurance (partly) from a business expense to a government expense, a significant burden is lifted from small business, again improving job creation.
  • People whose primary reason for being unable to work, or work to their greatest potential, due to the cost of insuring and/or treating a chronic condition, can improve both productivity and quality of life.
 Again, I’m not going deep into the specifics of the bill. The bill has issues, and some of those issues will have to be fixed. But the idea of the individual mandate, though it will probably need some tweaking to determine the optimal level of supplement for the ‘sliding scale’ feature, is not one that is going to lead to social or business disruption or ‘curtail individual freedom’ in any meaningful sense.
In fact, the ability of some people to obtain insurance affordably will lead to freedoms some of them have been craving for years. There is a reason that the people of western Europe are not rising up against their ‘health care overlords’ and demanding an ‘American-style’ system. It’s because universal health care is a vastly superior health care system to ours for nearly everyone in the country on virtually every measure at far lower cost. And that’s just a fact.
Enhanced by Zemanta
nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button
These Corporate States

Well, no.  Not yet.  But the Koch brothers, including Charles Koch, are well on their way.  Today the University of Florida at Tampa Bay announced that with a measley 1.5 million dollar grant, a foundation owned by the Koch brothers has bought the right to choose public university faculty for the economics program they are bankrolling.

We all know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that the golden rule is really “those who have the gold make the rules), but this is new.  Unprecedented.  The Kochs understand the true value of a public education — and they’re doing everything they can to decimate it.

Read the rest of this entry »

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button

*For those of you who have never met Fred, he is my inner 14 year old, the part of me that likes bawdy humor and inappropriate language and decidedly unfeminist stuff and has no inner critic.  If it’s fun, it’s cool.  In other words, Fred is my id.

Maureen: Hey, Fred, what are you doing over here?  You belong over at Am I the Only One Dancing?

Fred: I got bored.  You keep leaving me alone over there and coming over here and talking about “serious stuff” and I wanted to find out why it was so danged important to you.  I’ve already played all of my video games.

Maureen: All of them?  When do you sleep?

Fred:  When you do.  In other words, never.  So, what’s this place like?  (Looks around).  Lotta big ideas stacking up around here: ‘feminism’, ‘poverty activism’, ‘liberalism’ – hey, what’s this one?  ‘Human capital’.  Never heard that one before. 

Maureen: I borrowed it from economic theory.  Adam Smith defined it as “the acquired and useful abilities of all the inhabitants or members of the society. The acquisition of such talents, by the maintenance of the acquirer during his education, study, or apprenticeship, always costs a real expense, which is a capital fixed and realized, as it were, in his person. Those talents, as they make a part of his fortune, so do they likewise that of the society to which he belongs. The improved dexterity of a workman may be considered in the same light as a machine or instrument of trade which facilitates and abridges labor, and which, though it costs a certain expense, repays that expense with a profit.”. (ref. Wikipedia)

Fred: Whoa!  Maureen, I’m fourteen.  I may be smart, but I’m a kid.  What does that mean, and why did you steal it?

Maureen:  It means all of the combined abilities of all the people who are able to work.  This includes everything from raising babies to plowing fields to operating a computer to operating on a brain, to managing a small or large business.  Smith was saying that the more talents and skills the individuals in a society have, the better off the whole society is.

Fred:  So?  That just makes sense.  Of course if everyone’s got more skills, the whole place is better.  People with better skills get along better and aren’t as miserable and unhappy?

Human Capital is Potential (by fred g on flickr)

Maureen: (Gods above, I love fourteen year olds) I wish it were that easy, Fred.  But some economists, even some who are supposed to be smart, seem to think that humans are a fungible good.  That means that they think that humans are easy to replace and not particularly valuable.

Fred: Really?  Economics is whack! That’s messed up!  People mean something.  They’re important.  They matter.

Maureen:  (see what I mean?  His passion is priceless) Yes, but to a boss, one burger flipper is the same as another.  At least that’s the idea.  My thought, though, is that as an employer, I want a burger flipper who is going to be attentive, get it right, never spit in the food, learn all he can about the business, and open his own franchise, after which I make even more profit.  Even if he leaves my employ, while he’s on that learning curve, he’s far more valuable than the guy who shows up late if at all, and spits in the burger when he’s angry.

Fred: (makes a face)  People do that?  Gross!  I’m never eating at McDonalds again.

Maureen:  Good choice.  But you see my point.

Fred:  Sure.  Better trained, better treated employees are going to make more money for the boss.

Maureen: Yep, and business management literature backs it up.  But see, human nature is to take shortcuts, and to fib to get what we want.

Fred:  You mean ‘lie’, not ‘fib’.  Like the boss telling his employees that they’re not going to do layoffs, and then doing it anyway.

Maureen:  Where’d you hear about that stuff?  You’re just a kid.

Fred:  I’m your id, remember?  I read everything you do. 

Maureen:  How could I forget?  Anyhow, yeah.  Bosses will take shortcuts, because a lot of the time they’re not looking at the long term, but the short term.  A lot of people think about ‘quick bucks’ and how to retire early, and those are the folks making a lot of the business decisions.

Fred: I bet there’s good bosses, too, ones that think ahead.

Maureen: Of course there are.  We’re all humans, even bosses.  Heck, I’ve been a boss once or twice.  But the way the system is set up, short term thinking is what is most rewarded.  Shareholders rarely think past the next quarter, and if you don’t keep the shareholders happy, they move on.

Fred:  Okay, I get that, got to keep the deep pockets happy.  But what does this have to do with investing in human capital?  Making people more knowledgeable and skilled, I mean?

Maureen:  See, its in businesses’ interests to have skilled employees who take an ordinary task and make it into something more.  But it’s even more in businesses’ interest to make someone else pay for it.  None of the businesses want to put the money out for the long term training and investment in human infrastructure, because that leaves them at a serious enough short term disadvantage that other companies will push them out of their niche and at the very least they’ll lose market share.  Oh, sure, there’s a certain amount of training that all big and medium sized companies do, but things like building up the next generation of workers, ensuring that their employees have safe daycare and health care and enough leisure time to properly raise that next generation of workers?  That’s too expensive for any one company.  So they ‘outsource’ this to the one institution that has both the steady resources and the long term incentive to take care of it.

Fred: The family? 

Maureen: No, Fred, not the family.  Nearly every family has the incentive, but not all, or nearly all, have the resources.  No, the institution I’m talking about is government.  Paying taxes externalizes (that’s a fancy word for ‘spreads out and makes less painful for any one person or company) the costs of creating an education, a health care system, systems for caring for the disabled and poor, and other services. 

Fred:  So what you’re trying to say is that its in those businesses’ best interests to pay taxes, right?

Maureen:  No, Fred.  It’s in those businesses’ best interests to get ‘other people’ to pay taxes.  The tax battle in the modern era has been a constantly evolving game of ‘hot potato’, with everyone trying to get everyone else to pay for the things that benefit them in society.  One of interesting – or maybe appalling – things that is happening right now is that some people (often bosses and people with the goal of becoming bosses) try to claim that they get no benefit from taxes, and that taxes go to people who don’t ‘deserve’ them, hurting businesses, who ‘deserve’ to keep that money. 

Fred: Well, some people might not deserve it.  I could name names.  (Sees Maureen glaring and holds up his hands in surrender) – But I won’t.  Isn’t what you’re describing socialism?  That’s what I keep hearing on the news. 

Maureen: (See?  That’s what I get for letting my id watch the news):  Actually, Fred, its a system called ‘Social Capitalism’, that holds that ‘markets work best and output is maximized through sound social management of the macroeconomy.’ (Wikipedia)  In other words, capitalism (business) is the engine, and government is the steering wheel.  But Social Capitalism is another complex idea for another day.  And remind me never to let you read anything by Ayn Rand, Ludwig van Mises, or Friedrich Hayek.

Fred:  Too late.  How many times did you read Atlas Shrugged?  I usually fell asleep during that interminable speech at the end, but sometimes I paid attention.  And those other two dudes.  Boring.  Totally boring.  I’m bored.  Can I go back over to Am I the Only One Dancing? and play games again?

Maureen:  Sure Fred.  I don’t remember inviting you over here in the first place.  And thanks for telling everyone I read that tripe. 

Fred:  Do you want me to tell them how many times you read it?  Or all of the rest of that stuff?  Or how many stupid posts you wrote about it, littering the whole internet?

Maureen:  No, Fred.  I do not.  Go on back home.  I’ve got work to do.

Fred:  Sheesh.   I was only trying to help.  (Waves at the readers).  Nice meeting you guys.  See you later!  (Glares at Maureen)  See you later, too.  And you need to lighten up.

Maureen:  Go home, Fred.  Now.  (Sighs)  But at least now I know that human capital is so easy to understand a fourteen year old can get it.

nunila: (Default)

Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Share Button

Or: Why Liberals Support Food Stamps and other Government Food Programs:

CC by The Shopping Sherpa
Philosophers created the science of epistemology to explore how we know what we know and have been grappling with it for at least 4000 years without firm resolution. In today’s world, the issue is an incredibly complex one. We have multiple sources of information, with varying degrees of reliability and validity, and we often don’t know for sure which sources are more and which are less reliable.
This post assumes that you have a basic grasp of the scientific method and logic and critical thinking skills. Given that, and given what we know, and how we know, how do we decide how to live our lives? Usually, we make a moral decision about the nature of the world, and build our belief system to match it from the pieces of information we discover that most support our belief system.
Mankind is not primarily ‘the rational animal’, but the rationalizing animal. This has been demonstrated in experiment after experiment (ironic, I know). We often start from a conclusion we want to reach and build backwards to achieve philosophical unity with the conclusion. Scientists and people of faith (not a mutually exclusive group) are equally guilty of this, and with good reason. Our information overload leaves us with greater, not less, uncertainty, as we have to weigh many more variables.
Belief systems are frameworks that we build to make sense of our world. They are made up of many assumptions about the nature of knowing, about the reliability of facts, and about the nature of our relationship to other humans and the larger world.
Dunbar’s number (popularized as the ‘monkeysphere’) helps to understand why many humans are unable to empathize with people who are significantly different from them. If your social circle (monkeysphere) consists totally or almost totally of people who are essentially just like you are, it’s easy to fall into the belief that others (’Those People’) are fundamentally different from you.
How we react to those outside our monkeysphere in large part is defined by the two broadest classes of political philosophy. Liberalism rejects the ‘fundamental difference’ belief, while conservatism embraces it. It’s the question of what to do with ‘those people’.
Liberals generally assume that all human beings are intrinsically valuable (like we are) and we build systems outside the monkeysphere in order to provide as many opportunities as possible to potentiate (lovely word, that) their intrinsic value. In other words, ‘those people’ are just like me.
For instance,as a liberal, I might feed hungry people I’ve never met, and use my government’s food assistance as an automatic deposit system to set up a system to do so, because I assume that those other people, like me, have intrinsic value. Our primary view of those outside of our monkeysphere is that they are just like the people inside our monkeysphere, but not yet known to us, with the same basic needs, wants, urges, and potential, expressed, perhaps, in different ways.
Conservatives generally view those outside their own monkeysphere in one of three ways: Some ‘others’ are inferior in some way to the conservative and thus available to be used or thrown away. Other people outside the monkeysphere are a threat to a conservative, in which case he feels justified in depriving the other (’Those People’, again) in order to minimize the threat. Finally, some others are irrelevant to the conservative, in which case he doesn’t feel the need to consider the impact of his actions on them in any way.
A conservative, therefore, must allow a person into their monkeysphere, at least provisionally or tribally, in order to provide food assistance. A person must be ‘like me’ (race, class, or aspirations) in order to ‘deserve’ food assistance. A conservative can be just as generous as a liberal, so long as he has, to some extent, decided that this particular non-monkeysphere person or group has provisionally earned personhood.
In addition, the conservative is going to weigh whether it is useful to him to feed the other (he might support food stamps on the grounds that he will then be able to hire workers for lower wages without consequences in terms of their ability to perform the work). If a conservative views an outsider as a threat (racism comes to play here), he will actively fight providing aid to a group, viewing it as counter to his interests. This has been a primary driver of health care debates.
(CC by Jeffrey Beall) Which of these people deserves to eat?

As a conservative, I might volunteer at a food bank, or give a check to victims of a hurricane, or support a cause I grew to know through some personal connection, but it is anathema to me that others that I haven’t ‘pre-approved’ would get care that I in part pay for through a government program. This does not change even if I or someone I know benefits from this program, as I can then rationalize my monkeysphere-central acceptance of help as a ‘special case’.In the aggregate, conservatives live deep within their monkeyspheres and guard the borders. Liberals build bridges and roads between monkeyspheres and visit every now and again to see how things are going. It is up to the reader to decide which sort of life is more likely to lead to a better world.


Enhanced by Zemanta

September 2017

3 4 56789
17 181920 2122 23
24 252627282930


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags